Spotlight: Death toll soars as flood situation remains grim in India

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-18 15:53:54|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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Photo taken on July 17, 2019 shows flooded residences in Muzaffarpur district, Bihar, India. Many residents have been left homeless by recent flood caused by incessant rain in India's eastern state of Bihar. (Str/Xinhua)

by Pankaj Yadav

NEW DELHI, July 18 (Xinhua) -- The flood situation continued to be grim in several parts of India, particularly eastern state of Bihar, north-eastern state of Assam and parts of northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Though official estimates were yet to be made, media reports claimed that the number of people died in the flood-affected areas was almost 100, while more than 8 million people were displaced and were given refuge in shelter homes or relief camps.

Food, clothes, medicines and other necessities were provided to the flood-affected by the respective state governments.

Flash floods in Bihar were mainly caused by torrential rains in the catchment areas of Nepal over the weekend.

An official source in Bihar State Disaster Management Department told Xinhua over phone that so far 33 people have died due to floods in the state, while nearly 2.7 million people were affected. A maximum of 11 deaths were reported from Sitamarhi district.

However, media reports put the death toll at around 70 in Bihar alone. "State's Principal Secretary Prataya Amrit, who is the in-charge of state's Disaster Management Department, is holding a crucial meeting with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over the prevailing flood situation in the state. Most probably we will come out with the latest figures of human deaths and people affected by the evening," said an official source.

More than 125,000 people were evacuated from the flood-affected areas and rehabilitated in around 221 relief camps set up by the state government.

As many as 26 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Indian Air Force (IAF), Indian Army, Indian Navy, and other state agencies were pressed into service to carry out relief and rescue work. Besides, around 423 boats were used to reach out to the flood-affected people with relief materials and other necessities.

Though water-levels in some areas started receding, normal life was adversely affected due to floods while household belongings were washed away by the floods.

The situation was equally bad in Assam, where as many as 28 people died due to floods and two others died in separate incidents of landslides caused due to floods.

Around 6 million people in over 4,000 villages in the state were affected in the floods, an official in the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) told Xinhua over phone.

A total of 427 relief camps were set up in the flood-affected districts.

Official sources in the ASDMA said that as much as 90 percent of the world-famous "Kaziranga National Park" in Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state was submerged in flood-waters. The national park was home to the world's largest population of Indian one-horned rhinoceroses.

In a related development, a red alert was sounded in southern state of Kerala which has been witnessing "extremely heavy rains." Among the districts where red alert was sounded were Idukki, Malappuram, Wayanad, Kannur, Ernakulam and Thrissur.

Around 400 people died in the southern coastal state last year when it was hit by devastating floods, the worst in over a century.

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